Swift proposes an outlandish and bizarre solution of eating one-year old Irish babies which is clearly not a “modest” proposal, but he adds further irony to it by sprinkling in humor.He says the babies might also taste good in a “fricasie” or “ragoust,” making his proposal seem absolutely commonplace and logical, that the he just progresses to other suggestions of “food” preparation.Swift is using this fact to ironically criticize the British reader.
The proposal is far from modest and is rather shocking which Swift does to grab the attention of the reader.
He satirically recommends commoditizing Irish babies to improve the economic outlook by selling poor Irish babies to the rich as a delicious food item.
” Later on, Swift itemizes the “benefits” of his proposal.
Each benefit is a clear use of verbal irony, meaning that within his “logical” framework and argument, they seem to make sense, but in fact, they are outright cruel or insulting.
Swift’s proposal in his essay is a technique used to highlight a real issue and bring awareness to it by ridiculing the public (reader) through satire.
The definition of satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, and ridicule to expose and criticize people’s vices.
He states, “Prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers…is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance” (Par 2).
Through this quote Swift emphasizes that the multitude of Irish children is a terrible problem aggravating an already “deplorable state of the kingdom.
For example, he writes, “Secondly, The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own…
Thirdly, the maintenance of an hundred thousand children, from two years old, and upwards, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a piece per annum, the nation’s stock will be thereby encreased fifty thousand pounds per annum…” (Par 22 and 23).